A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Last of August, Brittany Cavallaro's follow-up to A Study in Charlotte, plunges teen characters Charlotte Holmes (descendant of Sherlock) and Jamie Watson (descendant of Doctor) into a dark world of murder, technology, international intrigue, and art forgery, as well as the multigenerational blood feud between the Holmeses and the Moriartys. It's all, supposedly, in aid of finding Charlotte's favorite uncle, who's suddenly disappeared, but there's always good reason to suspect deceit and subterfuge on many fronts. The latest of their families to have a life-changing if tortured connection, the two 16-year-olds have a strong bond that they're constantly questioning as events unfold and they try to do the right thing -- according to their own reckoning. Murder's all in a day's work for several adult characters, and the teens are, at various times, kidnapped, imprisoned, drugged, and beaten. One adult character is being poisoned by another; another has disappeared; and another is shot to death. There's a lot of romantic tension and snarky banter about people's sex lives, gay and straight, but no explicit detail. Expect some swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"). But, as the story wends its way to a shocking conclusion that sets up the trilogy's final volume, dark deeds and dark forces are, overwhelmingly, everywhere.
What's the story?
THE END OF AUGUST finds 16-year-old Jamie Watson spending a thrilling but uneasy Christmas holiday, after surviving the events of Book 1. It starts at the Sussex home of Charlotte Holmes' brilliant, dysfunctional family, but the teens are soon dashing off to sleazy quarters, dens of espionage, and dubious art scenes in Berlin and Prague. Jamie (who narrates most of the story) and Charlotte struggle with their intense, complicated relationship. Meanwhile, Charlotte's favorite uncle (and Jamie's dad's onetime best friend), who's been investigating art forgery, suddenly disappears, and she's convinced the Moriartys are, once again, to blame. Travel, intrigue, mayhem, deceit, and disguise soon follow -- complicated by the reappearance of August Moriarty, Charlotte's onetime tutor, whose life took a disastrous turn after she developed a crush on him.
Is it any good?
Brittany Cavallaro's second entry in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy is a dark, complicated story that keeps the pages turning right up to the shocking conclusion. Dysfunctional families, blood feuds, art forgery, murder -- these are only a few of the challenges facing 16-year-old Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes as they sort out their strong bond and loads of baggage. As Jamie navigates a world in which he's fascinated, thrilled, and completely out of his depth, and Charlotte follows an internal compass known only to her, there's plenty of angst about their relationship, lots of romantic tension, and deadly situations a-go-go.
There are also great travel vignettes describing the local scenes, architecture, and culture in Berlin and Prague. Some comical interludes involving elaborate disguises, art auctions, and school friends lighten the mood.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The End of August is similar to a Sherlock Holmes story. Why do you think people keep making up new Sherlock Holmes stories? What's the continuing appeal?
Do you think it's a good idea to make up new stories about someone else's characters (the way the entire fan-fiction world does)? Or is it better to start from scratch? What do you gain by working with established characters?
Does The End of August make you want to check out Berlin and Prague? Does the story's explanation of recent history in those places make them more interesting?
- Author: Brittany Cavallaro
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Adventures, Book characters, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Publication date: February 14, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 16
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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